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if you have kids, hug them extra tight when you go home. martin bashir, it's yours. >> toure, thank you. and we continue with this devastating breaking news. this hour, another horrific mass shooting. this one inside the sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. a grim new addition to the litany of lives lost in this country to mass gun violence. this time the majority of the victims were children. the death toll at the school has just been updated by connecticut police. 27 people dead, 20 children, 6 adults, and the gunman. the second deadliest school shooting in united states history. officials add that one other adult was found dead at a secondary scene. there is some confusion over the identity of the shooter. not a surprise given the situation like this. and details about his motive and exactly what firearms were used are evolving. what we do know is that the gunman's mother, nancy, was a
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kindergarten teacher it he school and is among those killed. with the death toll encompassing many of her kindergarten students, children 5 and 6 years old. an emotional president addressed the tragedy just a few moments ago. >> i know there's not a parent in america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. these children are our children,
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and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics. >> the president speaking there of his grief, sharing his feelings as a father as well as a president. as the nation reels from the shock and grief of this unthinkable crime, with young children as the most tragic victims and witnesses. >> well, when i was out in the hall when like everybody hurried. the bullets, they like went into a total panic. >> and how are you doing? what went on in your head as this was happening. >> whoa. >> a small and brave boy's account of this utter horror. the more chilling to know that 18 of his young classmates were killed on this day. let's go now to our justice
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correspondent pete williams who joins us from washington. pete, what is the latest and what can you tell us about this gunman's identity? >> well, you know, we thought we knew it earlier in the day. we had been told and a number of other news organizations had been told by several different law enforcement agencies and officials that the name was ryan lanza, but now it may be, martin, that the person who fired the shots was carrying someone else's i.d. so it may turn out that at the end of the day the person who fired the shots was ryan lanza's brother, adam, and federal officials and local officials are still trying to sort that out precisely which of the two of them it was. but what we're told is that the other person who was killed in newtown, connecticut, is a family member. we don't know what the family relationship was, and we're also told that the mother of those two ryan brothers caught at the school, that that was the family connection. we were told that the person
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with the gun carried two handguns into the school, a 9 millimeter pistol, two of the most widely available types of weapons in america, and had two other firearms in the car which were not used. one was a rifle and the other is a firearm we don't know what kind it was. but the person that fired the shots was dressed all in black. we don't know whether the vest that he was wearing was a bul t bulletproof vest or just a tactical vest to hold additional ammunition clips. those are the very broad details. other people who knew him have been detained for questioning, and officials are still trying to sort through this all, but it is extraordinary, martin, that this many hours after this happened it still isn't clear the identity of the person who fired the shots. >> and -- >> i suspect that will be straightened out shortly. >> pete, there was some suggestion earlier of some additional individual, somebody else who may have been involved, was seen exiting the school, and was subsequently arrested.
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>> yes. >> has that person been removed from any suspicion? >> detained for questioning i think would be the best way to put it. was never called a suspect, and i have heard no indication that there was anyone other than one person involved. >> so one individual whose identity we still don't know much about. in terms of the actual death toll, that's risen because i understand that one of the state police gave a press conference just a few minutes ago and updated us. what is it? >> right. we initially had been told it was 18 children. that has now been changed to 18 children who were found dead at the school plus two others who died at a nearby hospital. so that's 20 children in all who were killed along with 6 adults who were in the school plus the gunman. so that's a total of 27 people at the school, and then a 28th person, this family member of the apparent family member of the person who fired the shots
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who was found dead at the family member's home not far away, also in newtown, connecticut. >> the shooter himself, pete, died at the scene in the school. was that as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or was he killed by law enforcement? >> and we don't know the answer to that, martin. >> okay. nbc's pete williams. thanks so much for the moment. michelle franzen joins us, our reporter from newtown, connecticut. michelle, this is a small town, 26,000 people. a school which is highly popular because of its success, has a very good reputation. what can you tell us about the scene there now? >> reporter: well, certainly, martin, we're at the press briefing area, but it's a short distance away from the elementary school where the shooting took place this afternoon or early this morning. this afternoon we received this new briefing from law enforcement who arrived on the scene early this morning saying that they'd practiced for drills like this, but the emotions that are now enveloping this
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community are great, and he talks about how the community is coming together. they've already held several prayer vigils in this area. another one scheduled for tonight at 7:00. this community, of course, as you mentioned, very small community. by some standards, 26,000 people, that elementary school was only k through 4. that means 5-year-olds through 10-year-olds at that school that were exposed to this violent and tragic scene that played out today. we've heard and seen the video of parents rushing to that school after learning word of the shooting today. some of them reunited with their kids. other parents being sequestered, taken to another location. that is where connecticut's governor met with them this afternoon comforting them and that's exactly what this community will continue to do as the grief really sets in, martin. >> yes, michelle. and the governor described this as a tragedy of unspeakable terms, and we now have some sound from a young student who witnessed that horrifying scene.
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let's listen to him. >> the teacher told us to all go where the library is and get behind something. since there's a window in the door, nobody would see -- the guy wouldn't see us, and i heard that the guy was wanting to kill everybody and started with the music room and i was close to the music room. >> it's deeply disturbing to hear a child describing scenes like this. michelle, i also understand that very close to the school is a fire station that became something of a triage center, is that right? >> reporter: it was. it was where the families were taken from what we understand that were taken there who were told that their loved ones had passed away, had been killed in that building. that's where the governor met with them and that's where the families were comforting each other during that time. other family members, of course,
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reunited with their kids. they were able to leave that area. and, again, this community, you hear that little girl talking about what unfolded in that school and these shootings throughout the country, of course, that we've seen throughout the decades that have prompted many communities and schools to actually hold drills and prepare for this possible scenario like this playing out. certainly though no one can prepare for the emotions that is hitting this town tonight. >> indeed. michelle franzen, thank you so much. and we're joined now by nbc's kristin welker who joins us live at the white house. kristin, i don't think anybody who saw the president speak just now could but be moved because he was speaking not just as the commander in chief of this nation but also as a father, the parent of two young daughters. >> reporter: absolutely, martin. this is really the most emotional that we have seen president obama when he comes out to address the nation in the wake of one of these horrific
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shootings. he made the point that everyone's heart is breaking as we watch these events unfold in connecticut. also made it clear that connecticut's tragedy is the nation's tragedy. i thought it was interesting that he made the point that now is the time for meaningful action despite the politics of it. of course, what does that action mean? what will it look like? that will be revealed in the coming days and weeks. but certainly a call there for some sort of legislative action in the wake of another tragic shooting. president obama also reached out to fbi director muller, spoke with the governor of connecticut, dannel malloy. you heard him reference those phone calls and talk about the fact he not only called to extend his condolences to governor malloy, but to make it clear the federal government is standing with connecticut right now and will offer its full support as it begins to deal with this unspeakable tragedy. now, the president was alerted about these incidents at 10:30
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this morning by his national security adviser john brennan. he has been updated throughout the day. the state government is taking the lead on this, but the federal government making it very clear that they are standing with connecticut and offering their full resources, whatever they need as they deal with this situation. president obama frequently visits communities that are grieving. at this point in time the white house not giving us any information about what his plans might be, but certainly that is one of the things that might be under discussion as they watch this tragedy continue to unfold. the president continues to get updates on this situation, martin, but as you pointed out, he's watching this not just as the president but as a father of two daughters, and he was clearly quite emotional today when he spoke to the nation. certainly the entire country watching this in horror right along with the president. martin? >> kristin, after the horrific shooting in aurora, we had an outpouring of grief, but the president didn't say that action should be taken.
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when we had the terrible deaths of six people at that sikh temple in wisconsin, there was another expression of grief from everybody, but the president didn't say, as he has just said, that we have to come together and take action. what do you think he means by that, kristin? >> reporter: well, it was certainly, i think, one of his strongest statements potentially calling for stiffer gun control measures. in the wake of the aurora shooting, a couple weeks afterwards, he was at an event at the urban league and he talked about the need for common sense measures, making it more difficult for weapons to get into the hands of those who might not be mentally stable. putting more money, more federal funding into preventative measures for those who are mentally unstable. so i think that those are some of the ideas that might be discussed. white house press secretary jay carney today reiterated the fact that the president does support a ban on assault weapons. of course, we haven't seen a
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whole lot of action to reinstate that ban, but that is potentially one of the other things that might be under consideration in the coming days and weeks. but i think that we will have to wait and see what the specifics will look like. the white house made the point that while the president did make that statement today, their main focus is on the victims and helping the people of connecticut right now. >> kristin, you and i were at the hofstra presidential debate when a member of the public put that question to the president about an assault weapons ban, and you will recall that he expressed support for that, but nothing has happened, has it? >> reporter: nothing has happened, and i can tell you it's not just at hofstra, martin. we in the press often ask jay carney about this very issue. what type of action can we expect to see from this white house in terms of backing up some of those words? at this point in time we haven't gotten news that any -- there is
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any actual action in the near future, but i think that you're going to potentially see that change based on what the president said today, based on the fact he said it is now time for action despite the politics of it. as you know, a lot of members of congress, more conservative members, are opposed to a number of the stiffer gun control measures that have been discussed. so it's certainly not going to be an easy thing to sort through. but i think that part of the president's point today, and you heard him say this in his own words, was that he has seen too many of these massacres of these tragic shootings that have claimed too many lives and today those lives were of children, ages 5 to 10 years old. so certainly he was emotional but also seemed to be resolved to some extent to actually do something about it this time. >> indeed. kristin, he said as a country we have been through this too many times. kristin welker at the white house, thank you. i want to bring in our panel, msnbc political analyst karen
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finney and joan walsh, editor-at-large of, and also we have democratic strategist and former counsel to the house judiciary committee julian epstein. joan, i want to get your initial reaction to what has hand today because you're the mother of a daughter. i have met your daughter. >> yes. i called her right away. we've talked several times today. we g chatted for hours. that's your immediate impulse and then you say a prayer for the families that have gone through this loss. but i was very happy to hear the president make remarks about action. he doesn't have to spell out what it is. we don't even know exactly what were the weapons and what were the circumstances that went on -- >> so far apparently he had two handguns but a rifle was found in a vehicle associated with him. >> right. but what we do know, martin, is that there are too many guns in this society, and that it is far too easy to get guns. it's far too easy for troubled people to get guns. we also know that there's not nearly enough mental health
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support, mental health treatment in our culture, and that it's stigmatized for too many people, especially young men. again, this is a young man who did this presumably. we need to be talking about what are the root causes of that kind of violence and that kind of loneliness and desperation that would lead someone to take these lives. it's really unspeakable. >> one of the most shocking statistics is that 40% of legal gun sales do not involve any kind of background check. >> right. >> that is astonishing. >> it's astonishing. these are the kinds of laws that can't be changed because of the stranglehold not only the nra, now we've got the koch brothers fund funded program in the mix. last night michigan passed a law making it legal to carry a concealed weapon in a church, in a school, in a daycare center and they also abolished the local county boards that were in
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charge of supervising the permits that do go out. so we've got these well-funded lobbies, these well-funded efforts to keep politicians on a short leash when it comes to any kind of common sense gun control, and so it's going to take a lot of courage on the part of the president but not just the president, everyone in congress and not just democrats, the nation. >> karen, you've worked previously for the new york education department. give us your perspective on a school like this because, as i understand it, most schools are accessible until about 9:00 a.m., quarter past 9:00, and then the access is closed. yet this individual or indeed the school made the 911 call just after 9:30. >> i'm sure we'll learn more about there was some speculation that perhaps this individual may have taught at the school or had some kind of access to the school. and i also heard reported there were new school safety measures that had just been implemented. we'll learn a lot about that. >> and he may have been known to
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staff because his mother is a teacher. >> exactly. when i worked at the new york city schools after 9/11, we needed to take a very wholistic approach to this as we move forward and think of the needs of the children, this community, the teachers. this is going to be a long process of healing. there will be all kinds of great resources for people in terms of how do you talk with your children, how you move forward, how you answer their questions. certainly the school district will have to look for additional resources. joan and i were just talking about this. i hope nobody says that the school doesn't deserve whatever it is that they need to make sure there are counselors available so everyone can move forward and, you know, across this country children are going to have questions and parents are going to have to figure out how to talk with their children about what's happened. when children see something like this, they experience it very differently than we do as adults. keeping an eye on your children, if they have questions, responding to those questions but having that wholistic approach in terms of how we move forward and how we help this
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community heal. >> joan, we understand that new york city mayor michael bloomberg has said not even children learning their abcs are safe, and he, of course, has been campaigning relentlessly about gun control and some kind of control. as you look at the litany of these events and this year, it struck me when the president was speaking that even he has now run out of patience with this. >> well, this is his fourth national speech about a gun-related tragedy. i think it was ft. hood, it was aurora, it's this, and i'm missing one. >> gabrielle giffords. >> of course, my god. i think it's got to try his patience and jay carney, unfortunately, made an unfortunate statement today that it's not the day to talk about gun control. it is the day. it's got to be the day because these things happen so frequently if we can't talk about them on the day there's gun violence, then there's so often gun violence -- >> i think with as so many
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things, there's no control. after this many incidents, we're not controlling anything. we need to have a conversation about gun safety because i can't imagine there's a person in this country who doesn't -- isn't for gun safety. and as we have that conversation to the point you were making, that means what are the laws and the regulations that determine who gets a gun, who has access to a gun, but also in terms of the mental health issues that will come out of this and how do we ensure that we have the proper systems in place to ensure that people who have mental illness don't have access to guns. >> let's listen once again to something the president said. here is the president. >> as a country we have been through this too many times whether it's an elementary school in newtown or a shopping mall in oregon or a temple in wisconsin or a movie theater in aurora or a street corner in chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children, and
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we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics. >> if i can bring in democratic strategist julian epstein. julian, we've learned those children who survived were told to hold hands and close their eyes as they walked out of the school. this is devastating enough for adults, but for children? >> it's devastating for the country, and if you consider the age of the victims involved here, martin, this is probably the worst school shooting that we've ever experienced in the country's history, and as bad as it is, we have to keep in mind that this kind of tragedy is occurring every single day in the united states. every single day 30 americans die from handgun related homicides. that's 200 a week. that's 11,000 a year. that's the equivalent of a jumbo jet airliner going down every single week of the entire year. and if you compare it to our counterparts say in the united
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kingdom, in germany, in france, in south korea, in japan, all of whom have very strong gun control laws, you see that there are probably somewhere between maybe only a couple dozen to a couple hundred handgun related deaths a year. so we have a handgun vie -- a gun violence epidemic in this country that's unlike what is occurring anywhere else amongst our industrial counterparts, and you consider the arguments that the nra makes, the principal argument they have made to hold up legislation for 15 years is people need guns in their homes for self-defense. this has been studied by countless study all of which have found the same thing. guns inside the home are used very, very frequently, a tiny percentage of instances. almost all the times when guns inside a home are used, they are used in a suicide or in a homicide or some other kind of assault. and i remember when we were trying to get gun violence legislation passed in the wake of columbine.
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i remember being invited to meet with president clinton inside the oval office, and he said to me as we were walking out the door that day, he said, you know what? the american people are with us on this gun violence issue. just get a bill to my desk. his exact words were i would be willing to go into new hampshire in the middle of hunting season and make the case for gun violence legislation because when people hear the data and when they hear how many holes there are in the gun laws, whether it is unlicensed dealers being able to provide automatic weapons to terrorists and mentally unstable people and a whole host of other gaping loopholes, when people hear that, they revolt. when they hear the incredible statistics about how awash this country is in gun-related violence, the public will be with me. that's exactly the case that president clinton made. i think that's the case that president obama is hinting at. and i'm very hopeful, as joan said, that we will talk about this today and that democrats,
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particularly our party on the hill, will find the spine and the backbone to do something about this national epidemic. >> i have to say, julian, i'm relieved you mentioned europe. if i had done that i would be told to go back to britain. i was born in a country and lived for over 30 years in a country where there are very strict laws and as a consequence firearms are not used to resolve domestic disputes, arguments between partners, and so on. whereas having lived here for the last almost nine years, i have become -- it's almost commonplace this kind of event. >> in the uk i think the deaths in the last year or so were 60 gun-related homicides in the entire year. in a country that has very, very strong gun control legislation. compare that to 30 a day, 200 a week, 11,000 a year. i mean, the data is just overwhelming in this case. >> and yet, joan, notwithstanding what julian has just said, in places like
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michigan the legislature has actually promoted bills which allow people to carry concealed weapons into church, onto school premises, into colleges. >> right. >> notwithstanding the evidence. >> notwithstanding the evidence, and they did that right after the clackamas shooting which also use assault weapons. you know, we had a murder -- a tragic murder/suicide with guns in a situation that might not have escalated to that kind of violence without guns. you know, what does it take in just the span of a week to get us to move? i was also really glad that the president brought up chicago because we can't only be focused on this tragedy in this particular community, but we have to look at the toll that guns are taking on our cities and the city of chicago is particularly besieged. this is a tragedy that crosses class lines, crosses racial lines, and we've all got to be in it together. >> karen, one of the arguments i
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keep hearing is that if people didn't have guns, they'd simply use a knife. >> which is absurd. that's an absurd response -- >> explain to me why that's absurd. >> because that completely denigrates what the real conversation should be about and that's gun safety, right? we're not talking about stabbings. we're not talking about drownings. we're not talking about jumping off a building. we're talking about something we can control. we can actually have control over gun violence in this country, and, you know, if you think about the ways that the nr a -- and we've learned after each tragedy we learn a little bit more about the ways they manipulate the laws so, for example, after the aurora shooting, we learned we don't even have a national database that can talk to itself so if someone who is buying large amounts of weaponry and ammunition in one place and then does it in another, law enforcement doesn't -- can't even know about that. why? because we don't want to impose on the rights of the gun owners. you know, we have to view our
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rights, our constitutional rights, as responsibilities as well. and i think it cannot be in the domain of a political conversation that keeping our children safe, keeping our communities safe from gun violence, that can't be a political conversation. >> karen finney, joan walsh -- >> can i amplify. >> stay with us. much more on this unfolding tragedy in a moment. stay with us. dancing in their heads... ...we have these. home depot gift cards. give the gift of doing, in-store or online.
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if you're just joining us, we are following the latest developments in today's horrific shooting at an elementary school in newtown, connecticut. for more lets go to nbc's michelle franzen who is live for us in newtown. michelle, what information do you have concerning the identity of the shooter? because there appears to be some confusion about the name of the individual. can you tell us more? >> reporter: yeah, there is some confusion, and, martin, i think that it could be that law enforcement are still looking into those details. there's a possibility that we heard in the last few hours that the shooter may have been carrying another person's i.d.,
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another relative's i.d., so we are expected to hear back again from law enforcement in the next half hour and hopefully they will have that information. again, they said that they were sorting some information out on that investigation. of course, the elementary school still a very active investigation scene there with a tragic details of that shooting just playing out early this morning. and what we do know is that police say it appears that there was one shooter, one shooter who somehow entered the elementary school building this morning after classes had already begun and this elementary school where k through 4th grade students were meeting, ages 5 through 10, and the shooter went into the school and they received a 911 call, and law enforcement said that they went into that school immediately. knew that they had an active shooter situation there and began going from classroom to
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classroom checking for students, checking for teachers and other staff members before all of this tragedy unfolded, and then, of course, we have seen the visuals that were occurring outside the school once parents received word those reverse emergency calls that came to them telling them they needed to get to the school to pick up their children. some of those parents, of course, were met by their children who were released from the school, and other parents sadly were sequestered off into an area of the firehouse where the governor met with them today and, of course, i'm sure counselors and the families comforting each other as these tragic events unfold here in this town, martin, this community is coming together. vigil is expected to be held in the nearby church tonight at 7:00. they've already been gathering, already been comforting. you can imagine anytown, usa, would be doing the same today, tonight, and in the days to come. >> michelle, the shooter himself
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shot his mother who was a teacher of the kindergarten class. there was also another crime scene at a property nearby. another relative of the shooter? >> reporter: well, what we do know is we are hearing word, police have not confirmed that the mother was shot. we do know that the mother worked at the school. i think there are details with the identity of the shooter that we're still trying to work out with those details. what we do know is that the shooter that they believe played out and took these lives, that his mother did work at the school, so we're waiting for that sort of confirmation and who exactly may have been or was the target at the school, and, yes, another crime scene unfolding in the new jersey area where the potential shooter that police think actually took the lives here again may have also had another situation with other relatives in new jersey. so a lot of those details, martin, still trying to be
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worked out as law enforcement executes search warrants throughout the day, interview family members, and try and pinpoint who exactly the shooter was, if he was, in fact, carrying somebody else's identification. >> nbc's michelle franzen in newtown, connecticut. thank you so much, michelle. let's go back to the white house and nbc's kristin welker. we want to play some sound from the president today who spoke just over an hour ago. take a listen. >> our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well. for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them truly, and there are no words that will ease their pain. >> kristin, you were present as a very emotional president talked about what happened. what more can you tell us about his reaction to this devastating tragedy today? >> reporter: well, martin, this is really the most emotional that i have seen president obama in the wake of one of these
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massacres, these tragedies, and, of course, he has spoken after the shooting in aurora, colorado, in tucson, arizona. all of them equally tragic but clearly this shooting is different, as he pointed out, because there were so many young people whose lives were taken. ages 5 to 10 years old. he made the point that he was watching this unfold not just as the president of the united states but also as a father. he was alerted about this shooting earlier today by his -- by john brennan, his national security adviser. he's been getting updates throughout the day, and he reached out to the governor of connecticut not only to he can tend his condolences, but also to make it clear that the federal government is prepared to stand with connecticut as they deal with, respond to, and begin to heal from this unspeakable tragedy. the president really making the case that this is not just connecticut's tragedy, this is really the nation's tragedy. one thing that stood out to me, i know it stood out to you, martin, was the president making
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the point that in the wake of this shooting, it is in his words, time to take meaningful action to try to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again. what does that specifically mean? we'll have to wait and see for the details to come out, but clearly it is a reference to some type of stiffer legislation when it comes to gun policy. president obama has ordered the flags flown at half-staff. the national flag here at the white house, the flags at the capitol also flown at half-staff as well as all of the flags on federal buildings here in washington, d.c. reiterating the point that the federal government is standing with connecticut as it begins to deal with this tragedy. martin, i can also tell you that an impromptu vigil is beginning to form right outside the white house. people just coming together to mourn because i think so many people are mourning today for the victims in connecticut and also to send their prayers and their condolences. so that is happening right now outside of the white house just
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beginning to gather. we're going to monitor that and brick bring you any developments. but the president continues to monitor this situation, continues to make it very clear that the federal government will offer its full support, it's full resources to the people of connecticut. martin? >> kristin, as the president said, as a country we have been through this too many times. kristin welker, thank you so much. let me bring in two of my friends and colleagues, the host of msnbc's "the cycle" toure and crystal ball. krystal, what was your reaction. off young daughter and you are pregnant. >> it's been a very emotional day. i think i feel the way the president feels, the way that most patients feel, the way that most americans feel. not to state the obvious, but there's something about it being such young children, 5-year-olds, these were babies, that really makes it just very hard to cope with emotionally.
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it seems so senseless, so unbelievably tragic and unfathomable that you just don't know how to wrap your mind about it. put aside the fact that he also apparently took the life of his own mother, another monstrous incomprehensible tragedy. so it's been a tough day for me as it has been for many americans. nothing, of course, compared to what the victims are going through. >> of course. >> absolutely. all of that. your child is 4 my son is 5, my daughter is 3 1/2. we walk through these hallways similar to the gunman did today, and i can very clearly visualize the path he would have taken and going into this room and a lot of young children's classrooms, there's one door so the teachers can stay in control of the room and the children. so if you just block that door, you have total control of this room and there's usually three adults in a large group of maybe 20 or so children. so i can only imagine the horror of these people as this is carrying on for several minutes. as krystal said, he committed
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two of the most unhumane things a person can do, killing your mother, killing children. but as we prepared for the show, i felt like change the nouns, but the same veshs. we've done this show before. we've seen other crazy, depraved killings like this, and it's like how many more dot we have to go through until we say we need to do something. i almost feel like there is no tragedy large enough that would make america go, yeah, we need to make a change. it seems like we just accept this as part of being in america. >> if i can, i'd like to read something that michael bloomberg, the mayor of new york city has said in response to today's shooting. he said this, we have heard all the rhetoric before. what we have not seen is leadership, not from the white house and not from congress. that must end today. this is a national tragedy, and it demands a national response. my deepest sympathies are with the families of all those
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affected and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever. i imagine you share those sentiments. >> i certainly agree with that sentiment, but i do want to be careful about one thing. you know, when we talk about gun control, stricter gun control, i think it's important that we be specific about what we mean, and right now in this particular case we don't know the details. we don't know if there was extended capacity magazine clip, for example. we know it wasn't likely assault rifles. we don't know if he obtained the guns legally or illegally. we really have no way of knowing exactly what would have pretented this tragedy -- >> but krystal, 40% of legally owned firearms in this country are purchased without any form of background. >> absolutely. and that's an important -- i mean, that is an important debate to have, but i just think it's important we be specific because otherwise the message that law-abiding gun on owning americans here is we want to take away your guns and that's
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not what we want. we want to try to prevent tragedies like this but i agree with the sentiment we should get the details here first so they we know what we're talking about and what we're advocating for. >> to krystal's point though, toure, there is often a danger to demonize the law abiding who use weapons in an appropriate manner at the same time as demonizing an individual who has perpetrated such a wicked and unspeakable act like this. >> i don't want to demonize responsible gun owners like krystal's father, like my father, but we know also that guns do not make you safer. when you have guns in the home, they are far more likely, 43 times more likely to be used on a friend or family member than an intruder. they consistently make angry arguments turn into violent deaths, so we cannot just act like because we have many responsible gun owners then that absolves all the other people. i think the attitude really comes down to well, wackos will
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figure out a way to do harm so there's nothing we can do. one of the big differences i see in today versus the mood around the aurora shooting was the gun control lobby people, bloomberg perhaps is an early leader of that, is starting to stand back up. when aurora happened it was nobody can talk about gun control in this day. that's inappropriate and the gun control lobby continued to stand down and the nra controls the whole discussion, and now gun control people are starting to say, no, today is an important day to speak up. we must speak up now and a valuable tweet looking forward to national time to talk about national gun control day which is always tomorrow. at some point it's got to be today. >> here is what the president said. we are going to have to come together and take action. the president said that. >> on this day. that matters. >> because? >> because now is a time to talk about it. if we can't talk about it now, when do we talk about it? we talked about that brilliant
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jon stewart piece the other day. when we're having these shootings, then it's inappropriate to talk about it. of course, the gun rights lobby wants it to be inappropriate on their most embarrassing day. when do we talk about it? that one day when the nypd says there's no shootings today. then it doesn't seem important to talk about it. the gun control debate must happen and it can't be cowed by, well, that person was just a wacko and it's really mental health. >> we're watching live pictures at the moment of an impromptu gathering right outside the white house now of people gathering together to express their sympathies for what has happened in connecticut today. a shooting happened earlier today. 911 call from the school at 9:30 this morning where children, 18 children, were killed, staff members and six adults in total, 27. the gunman himself was killed. we're not certain as to whether that was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or whether he was
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killed by law enforcement. krystal, the secret service conducted a survey in 2002 and it found 68% of attackers obtained guns from their home or that of a relative. and this idea we keep hearing argued that people should have a gun in the home for self-protection is challenged by a stat tick like that, isn't it? >> certainly it is. but i mean, here is my stance. if we're going to infringe on someone's liberty which is what we are, in fact, talking about when you're talking about gun control, there has to be a really pressing onus of proof that doing that thing, taking away that liberty, is going to have a measurable impact. so i'm with toure, i'm with you. this is a debate we need to have. i just think we have to be very careful about the terms of that debate and the specifics and bringing forward the evidence that these measures are actually going to have an impact. that's my position, and i think in this case we just don't know enough yet to know what would
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have prevented the situation. >> we're expecting a press conference i should say from the location in about exactly an hour where we'll be updated obviously -- sorry in one minute. a press conference at 4:45. forgive me. you were going to interrupt. >> just quickly, this is not what the founders envisioned when they wrote the second amendment. these sort of school shootings, movie theater shootings, shoot up your whole family in your home. this is clearly not what they were thinking about when they were talking about giving people the power of militia. when we're talking about the freedom of speech and these sort of things, yes, we have to be very careful what we take away. guns are ultimately very efficient killing tools. >> so are you advocating for a complete ban on guns? i'm just wondering what specifically are you advocating for? >> i'm not sure. i mean, i'm not -- i'm certainly not understanding why people need to have assault rifles, why we need to have large magazines. you know, i'm not sure why
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people are able to go to gun shows and get guns without background checks. i'm not sure why the nra is against any sort of control on people having guns. i don't think it's enough to say that laws don't prevent people from getting guns because that's just saying -- >> i'm not saying that. >> i know you're not but a lot of gun rights lobby says that. it's like there's nothing we can do, call uncle, and we have to live with these killings week after week. >> and i agree with everything you just mentioned there. the assault weapons, extended magazines, the gun show loophole, i agree with all of that. i just think when we speak in broad terms, when we use statistics about gun violence, it sounds to a lot of people like we want to ban guns completely, and we have to be smart and strategic if we're going to win political battles. so that's why i'm urging caution in terms of the way that we talk about this and being specific about what it is, what solutions we're proposing because i think there's very few people out there who would say, complete
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ban on guns or even complete ban on handguns. so that's my only word of caution in this particular -- >> we either go toward more guns in society or less, right? certainly more guns is not what you want, right? >> but, toure, isn't there also a gaping need for psychiatric services, particularly for men, and for this to be opened up as a discussion point given that in so many cases and fbi experts tell us that there are signs and signifiers that an individual doesn't perpetrate a crime like this out of nowhere, and that often times there might have been interventions of some kind to prevent a disaster happening like this. >> absolutely. and the stigma tieization of being in therapy, especially for men, we need to move away from that so people who are in trouble can get help. but it becomes a sort of equation of when you have a mental health problem plus you can get access to a gun, then something is going to happen. i don't want to ban alcohol.
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i don't want to ban cars, but when people put those two things together then that can be a problem. and if -- >> but that's to krystal's point. you're supporting krystal's position which is it's not simplistically an issue of the weapon. it's a multifactorial problem. >> well, yeah, you make some sense, but there's only two things that we can use guns for. killing and practicing killing, right? so why else do we have guns in society? >> okay. well, we are awaiting, as i said, a press conference. we were told it would take place at 4:45 p.m. eastern time. we'll bring it to you obviously live. we still have democratic strategist julian epstein watching and with us on stand by. julian, you heard a fairly conflicted discussion there about controls. you're a lawyer yourself. what's your view of this? >> and i spend many years of the judiciary committee trying to close up some of the gaping loopholes in the federal laws. i mean, i tend to be closer to where toure is on this thing and
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i'll tell you why. it's not just the data that we spoke about in terms of how much gun violence there is in this country, which is just exponentially more than in other countries, industrialized countries with sensible gun laws, but when you look at how -- you look at the nature of the loopholes. and terrorist groups like al qaeda have been the ones that have commented on how ridiculously lax the u.s. laws are and how relatively easy it is to get things like assault weapons and 50 millimeter rifles that can blow a foot away of concrete from a quarter of a mile away. the amount of loopholes that are in the laws right now make me wince a little bit when people say we should be very cautious and very specific about how we want to go. just consider some basic things. i mean, a terrorist can go into a gun show today and buy -- or any other unlicensed dealer and get assault weapons and get
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extended magazine clips. that's just a simple place where one could start to close down just kind of basic gaping loopholes. if you look at the data on concealed weapons and the problems that concealed weapons are creating in states that have concealed weapons laws, if you look at basic things like the justice department that's wanted to use microstamping to help trace laws, there's at least -- to trace gun crimes, there's at least a half a dozen to three-quarters of a dozen major things we could do that would at least reduce the incidents of these kinds of massive tragedies but i think toure -- >> julian, to your point, you're talking about very specific measures which is exactly what i think we should be doing. my ox is when people speak in broad terms and don't break it down to solutions. here is what we want to do because i think there's a lot of people out there, gun owners
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included, who support a lot of the measures you're talking about. nra members even who have been surveyed who support a lot of those common sense measures. what i object to is the language that sounds very broad and very unspecific that sounds like we want to take everyone's guns away, and that's at least not my position and i don't think that it's the position of you or toure either. >> julian, what can we do even if we introduce legislation when there are 300 million firearms available in this country? they're loose in this country. there are 350 million people, 300 million firearms. >> well, so let me answer both of those questions. to krystal's point, it is a fact that the nra has opposed closing the loopholes on unlicensed dealers and putting any controls on unlicensed dealers like gun shows. >> certainly they have. >> it's a fact that the nra has opposed extending the ban which expired in 2004 on assault
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weapons -- >> but julian, the reason they're able to keep such a large membership and to scare their members into thinking that we want to take their guns away is because of broad rhetoric being used. they have done surveys of nra members, and i'm not talking about the leadership, i'm talking about the rank and file members of which there are many, and they actually support a lot of the basic common sense things that you're talking about. so that's why i'm saying, you know, when we use broad language about gun control and we don't boil it down to those specifics, they're able to use that as propaganda that liberals want to take away your guns. >> yeah, you know, i hear what you're saying, krystal, but i would say every time there has been a specific debate about the areas in the gun laws where there are gaping loopholes, again, i just cite two, the point that martin raised in the beginning of the program about how many guns are bought without
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any background checks and they're bought not just at gun shows but at other unlicensed dealers. there are thousands all over the country. anytime that issue has been raised or the issue about assault weapons, martin, to your question, i think the existing ones need to be taken off the streets. we don't know the details about what happened today but we know that that would solve a lot of these kind of mass killings, anytime even those two issues, and that's just a place to toure's point where you start. there are many other places to go beyond that. but even where you start, you have not seen with all due respect, krystal, much respect from the membership, much support from the membership of the nra and certainly steadfast opposition from the national rifle association, and, again, if you look at even what the handbooks from al qaeda and terrorist groups have said, they've said because these laws are so lax, it is so easy to get these assault weapons that can
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kill dozens, hundreds of people in very short periods of time, this is where you want to go to the united states to get your weaponry if you want to commit some kind of heinous crime. >> okay. well, we'll continue this discussion in a moment but at 3:15 today the president gave a statement from the press room at the white house. here is what he had to say. >> the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. among the fallen were also
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teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. so our hearts are broken today. >> the president also said we're going to have to come together and take action. what do you think that means? what does he mean by that? >> i think he likely means gun control. i do think -- jay carney earlier in the day said today is not the day to talk about it, so the president did not mention it specifically, but the implication is clear. he has made clear in the past that he supports a renewed assault weapons ban. i would expect that's another direction he goes in, although it wasn't assault weapons used in this particular attack, but i would suspect that that is what he's referring to. >> indeed. the president's press secretary has made a statement about the president's schedule. he says in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in newtown, connecticut, today, the president's event plans for wednesday in portland, maine,
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has been canceled. what would you like to see the president do in terms of action? >> i mean, i would like to see the assault weapons ban renewed. some of these sort of things we've already talked about in this conversation, but i don't expect anything to happen. i expect this sort of rhetoric to happen, and then nothing. he didn't campaign on this. the left does not push him on this issue. maybe the far left, people who read "the nation" and watch martin bashir and "the cycle" -- >> i have to interrupt you. there's a press conference starting right now. >> okay. what i'd like to do is i'd like to give you an update, a briefing on some additional details hopefully to answer some of the questions you may have. again, as i stated before, this is an ongoing criminal investigation. we are limited as to some of the details that we can give out to you for obvious reasons. first, let it be stated that i
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have told you the number of deceased in the building, at the hospital, and at the secondary crime scene. it's our policy and protocol that we have to establish positive identification of those victims. that is a time consuming process. it's something that's going to take a great deal of time. the medical examiner has already arrived on the scene. he's going to work closely with us to expedite that and get that done as efficiently as possible. the families have been assigned a trooper or an officer as a line of communication. that was done specifically to ensure the families that they have constant communication with this ongoing investigation, and they won't have to sit and watch television news or anything else. they will be the first to know any of the progress that's made as this investigation continues on. as i stated earlier, the assets that were utilized initially were certainly when the call came in, newtown police department immediately responded and immediately called for help. surrounding local agencies sent officers and the connecticut state police sent all off duty
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and on duty troopers to respond so they could immediately gain access to that building and begin that search process that i alluded to before. we had the state police tactical team, k-9 teams out here, certainly trooper one in the air and it was probably to keep some of your helicopters away, quite frankly. but we had every possible asset came out to this scene the minute that this alarm came in or this call came in. and it was certainly to do everything we could to protect certainly life and property. the community has been outstanding in supporting this effort. as you can see, you have taken over their park and they're showing up, they're offering condolences. they're doing everything they possibly can to support the victims, the victims' families of this horrific tragedy. the fbi crisis management team has offered to respond, is going to respond here tomorrow to assist in crisis management, to assist not only with the
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families and the family members, but with all the first responders, the police, fire, ems, all working at what i described before as a very horrific and difficult scene. certainly local mental health crisis intervention teams had been on scene and have been here all of the day working and assisting and helping. i just want to make it very clear that there were 18 children who were pronounced dead at the scene. there were two children who were transported to area hospital and were pronounced dead at the hospital. there were six adults that were pronounced dead at the scene. and obviously the shooter was also pronounced dead at the scene. i don't have much more detail about that secondary scene, but there is a related scene that we discovered as we were continuing the criminal investigation and specifically investigating the shooter, and you probably saw and someone asked me on the way in here about the bomb squad and, yes, we brought all our

Martin Bashir
MSNBC December 14, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

News/Business. Journalist Martin Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 13, Krystal 11, Connecticut 9, Newtown 7, Kristin 6, Toure 5, Jay Carney 4, Kristin Welker 4, Michelle Franzen 4, Obama 4, Julian 4, America 4, New York City 3, Chicago 3, Martin 3, Julian Epstein 3, Nbc 3, Michelle 2, Michael Bloomberg 2, Clinton 2
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